Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Caryophyllales - Family: Droseraceae
This endangered, carniverous plant species is another of the rare plants to be found in the Algarve region of Portugal. It is becoming increasingly rare due to habitat destruction and collection by fans of carniverous plants, and has been lost from many of its previously known strongholds in the region. The plant is also recorded from Spain and Morocco.
Portuguese Sundew differs from other sundews because it grows in dry, stony, calcareous habitats rather than in the acid conditions of the marshes and bogs that are the usual habitat for other carniverous plants such as Drosera rotundifolia that are found in the more northerly parts of Europe.
In common with other sundew species, Portuguese Sundew catches its small insect prey by entrapping them with a sticky substance that not only emanates from the leaves but also from the stem. Once trapped the insects become asphyxiated and, following death, are eventually digested by enzymes in the leaves of the plant.
Drosophyllum lusitanicum was previously placed with other sundew species in the Droseraceae family of plants, but as a result of DNA analysis, has now been placed in a category of its own - Drosophyllaceae.
Hairs on the stems and leaves of Drosophyllum lusitanicum are tipped with a sticky substance which ensnare the insects on which this plant feeds.
Although the plant may be extinct from many of its formerly known central Algarve locations it can still be found far out in the western part of the region, which is where these photographs were taken.
The specimens shown on this page were photographed during early April in the western Algarve.
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